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Friday, December 21, 2012

Suffering

Probably one of the most perplexing things about the Christian life is suffering. Everyone has their own measure to bear. For my own part, I can imagine the things I would be unable to bear. But as I look back on what I have suffered, I realize that I've vastly underestimated what I can take. That's to be expected.

Mother Church has a pretty well-developed theology of suffering, through the testimony of her saints. Suffering is not only to endured, it can be offered to God. More than that, it can be offered for others. I'd like to think I haven't wasted mine, but I have. St. Paul says in his letter to the Colossians, "...and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, the church." If that isn't the oddest verse in the Bible, well, then, I don't know. What could be lacking in the sacrifice of Christ? And what do any of us poor sinners think we can offer of spiritual value?

But there it is, right in the Bible. And I think from what I've seen, Christ wants to show his willingness to die for the world again and again in our suffering. Maybe that's why the saints learn to enjoy it. Because what love is greater than that? And what earthly pain could blot it out?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

5 Thoughts For Today

5. Since the Church is made up of fallible human beings, I guess Arius was right. I mean, "councils may err," right? I happen to think his interpretation adheres most closely to Scripture. (I'm not serious; I'm making a point.)

4. I guess when you "tell it to the church," we'll have to have an endless exegetical debate, because of course an ecumenical council can't settle it. Obviously, the Church wanted the freedom of idiosyncratic hacks preserved for all time.

3. Didn't you hear? The apostles replaced Judas because they got a great deal on a hotel for vacation. Group rate, and all that.

2. I'm so glad God doesn't protect the Church through her actual institutions. Instead, he sends a scrupulous, angry monk and a lawyer when no one is looking.

1. Of course, Nicea and Chalcedon were correct, and all the others were false. Haven't you ever played Calvinball?

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Basic Argument Against An Invisible Church

I'm sure Newman or someone has already made this argument, but here it goes:

It is asserted that the Church of Jesus Christ is fundamentally invisible. But this cannot be. The Law of Non-Contradiction states that a thing cannot be and not be in the same way at the same time. But this "Church" proposes as de fide doctrines which are contradictory, such as in the doctrine of the Eucharist. As it is written, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." But the Church is the "pillar and foundation of the truth." It is also called the "household of God." God cannot be divided, as it is written, "Hear O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one." Therefore, this concept called by the same name cannot be the Church Christ founded.

Corollary: Now it is clear that a man may dissent from the true faith. But it does not follow that merely asserting a different set of propositions makes those propositions true. Based upon what we have already stated, the organs by which the contradictions come to be known (often called "churches" themselves) cannot be the Church, unless one set of propositions be true, and the other false. But that is not admitted by the concept. Nor can the communities be smaller parts of the same whole, because they do not agree upon that which is de fide. Now, the formation of those communities, with respect to an assertion of legitimacy, depends upon the concept which has proven false, as was shown above. Therefore, it is not reasonable to assume that the content of those propositions is true, because they are the fruit of a false concept. Therefore, the Church of Jesus Christ must be visible. Moreover, it is a likely supposition that one who holds propositions derived thence (that is, from the false concept) is in dissent (heresy) and schism.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

List Me, I'm Irish

5 Thoughts For Today

5. One little act done in the love of God is greater than all the noble natural acts put together.

4. I still hate Macs.

3. No, I have not seen The Sound Of Music. I'm sorry. But a beautiful woman told me to watch it over my Christmas break, so naturally, that will happen forthwith. Just sayin.'

2. Nor have I read The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings, or The Chronicles Of Narnia. Obviously, I am reprobate.

1. Nothing like hamming it up with the Vicar-General and starting Holy Mass late. I'd like to think Jesus thought that was funny.